For starters, my diet was drastically improved from either time before, yet I gained hardly any weight. This concerned me greatly, as I really wanted to birth a bigger baby this time after my other two were born so small. Second, I manged to drink a half pound of red raspberry tea in less than 3 months in preparation for labor, so that was even better than I did the time before. And #3, because the majority of my pregnancy took place over the winter, I didn't get out much, and was horribly out of shape.
My due date was June 24th, and I *really* wanted to make to full term this time because of what had happened last time. My parents were due to arrive on the 20th, and my mom was also really hoping to be present this time. However, the little miss had other plans.
On Monday the 16th of June, I was all out of sorts. My emotional state was in constant flux, and I couldn't relax. I didn't do much until afternoon and evening when I felt a rush to get loaf of bread made, and roast a chicken. I am so thankful I have a double oven!
Not long after dinner I noticed that I seemed be getting more Braxston-Hicks than normal. Finally I told Zack that perhaps we should start tracking them. At which time we discovered they were consistently 10 minutes apart. After we got the girls in bed I put all the leftover chicken pieces in the crock pot. I also remarked that I was going to ask the midwife when I went in the next morning to check me because I really wanted to see if all these BH's were actually doing something, especially since they were getting more uncomfortable. I also decided that since I hadn't gotten around to it before, now was an excellent time to pack my hospital bag. :-P We didn't end up going to bed until after 11.
At 4am I woke up needing to use the bathroom. After I got back in bed I tried to track my contractions a bit more and see if they were any closer together, but I was so tired I couldn't keep a good eye on the clock. But it wasn't long before I thought I felt wet, and upon checking myself, I realized that I was *very* wet. So I got back up went into the bathroom, and even more fluid came out. At this time Zack woke up and got up to check something outside, (I still have no idea what it was!) When he came back I turned the light on and informed him that my water had broke.
I put on a maxi pad so I could get up, then called the on call midwife. Turned out it was Debra, the very same midwife who had delivered both my other daughters! After that Zack called his mom to see how quickly she'd be able to get out here. We were both hoping that she would arrive before we had to leave for the hospital so we wouldn't have to wake up the toddlers. Zack put a note on the door to remind him to turn off the crock pot when we left, and we went back to bed.
Unfortunately, the contractions where getting more intense, so sleep for me was out of the question. Just as Zack was drifting off, I had a strong one, and woke him back up. He put pressure on my back which helped a bunch. When it was over he decided to see if he could take a quick shower before we had to leave. But, just before he was about to get in, another very strong contraction came on and he decided that perhaps in would be better to get to the hospital instead.
Once we got there I got examined and learned that I was already 6-7cm! Grandma arrived and took the girls out. We had arrived just before the shift change, 3 babies had been born that night, so the nurses were pretty tired. It took 2 different nurses to get my IV line in, probably because they were so tired. Turned out my delivery nurse was going to be Nina, the very same nurse I had with baby #2!! So I ended up with the exact same team I had before.
I was getting these crazy long contractions, 3 to 4 minutes each! So I found that I was most comfortable sitting cross legged and leaning forward during them. Zack would stand next to me with one hand putting pressure on my back and the other in front of me to hold on to. I think we've gotten this teamwork thing worked out this time! Because my contractions were so long, my body had more time in between to rest, so this labor felt way more relaxed. As things were getting more intense Nina asked if she should check me again, but Debra very kindly replied that there was no need.
Finally it came time to push. I knew I didn't want my feet in the stirrups this time, but I couldn't find a good position until Debra suggested I try laying on my side, and Nina held my upper leg while I grabbed the lower one. Because I was more to the side of the bed, I kept hitting the recline button with my head, if I wasn't in the midst of pushing I probably would have laughed.
Oh, and the things you quickly forget. I had forgotten about the intense burning you feel at the very end, and Debra had to coach me through it again. I also had to be more proactive about the pushing this time, my body didn't take over like it had before, so I had to push myself. A one point I even pounded the bed with my fist. I'm so glad now that Zack insisted that the girls not be present during labor. Definitely would not have been good for them to see Mommy lose control.
Finally the sweet miss was born! It was just after 8am. This time Debra put her right on my tummy, and waited for the cord to stop pulsing before clamping it. Just like the previous two, Baby was a little blue, but instead of taking her away, Nina rubbed her down real hard, and gave her some oxygen right there on the bed. Nina also got to see something she'd never seen before, what they call the sun rising. Where the color starts to rise on the baby and take over her whole body. Zack watched it, but at my angle, I couldn't quite see it. Apparently, it's pretty amazing to see. :-)
After, her cord was cut, I was able to continue to keep her skin to skin as long as I wanted. I tired to have her do the breast crawl, but she wasn't able to quite latch herself on, so I finally helped her a little, and we had our first successful breastfeed. They didn't weigh her for at least an hour, and I can't tell you how excited I was to hear she was 6lbs. 9.4oz. My biggest baby yet!
An interesting note. This was my first time to be able to keep my baby skin to skin to immediatly after birth, exept for when she got her first examination, but then she was brought right back to me. After everyone left and Zack feel asleep on the couch, I held my baby right next to me and was able to sleep too. Nina came back around 11, and after checking my fundus she felt my bladder and told me that it was very full and urged me to get up to use the bathroom. While I was up she put my baby in the warmer. After I got back I decided to leave her there and try sleeping on my side. However, not only could I not fall back to sleep, I couldn't relax either! My heart rate went up, and I just laid there wide awake until I finally got up and retrieved my baby. Skin to skin really does have an amazing affect on both mommy and baby.
I most grateful for an unassisted childbirth, with not needing any pain blocking meds, or having to be induced. Maybe next time a homebirth? ;-)